back to top
TVAndMovies

Many Democrats Are Now Donating Harvey Weinstein's Campaign Contributions To Charity

Weinstein — who was fired from The Weinstein Company on Sunday in the wake of multiple sexual harassment allegations — has been a prolific donor to Democratic candidates and causes. As many Democratic U.S. senators and two governors said they'd give contributions from Weinstein to charity, the Democratic National Committee said they would redirect $30,000 in his most recent donations to other political groups.

Originally posted on
Updated on

In the wake of stories in The New York Times and The New Yorker containing multiple allegations of sexual harassment and assault against movie producer and executive Harvey Weinstein, two governors and all 14 Democratic senators who received money from Weinstein say they are donating his contributions to charity. Unlike the elected officials, the Democratic National Committee plans to redirect $30,000 in his most recent contributions to other political groups.

Weinstein — who was fired on Sunday from The Weinstein Company by its board of directors — has been a prolific Democratic donor and fundraiser for decades, headlining massive fundraisers for presidential nominees like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Larry Busacca / Getty Images

In 2012, he held a $38,500-per-person fundraiser for Barack Obama (co-hosted with Aaron Sorkin and Anne Hathaway), and in 2016, he hosted multiple celebrities at his Manhattan home to raise more than $1.5 million for Hillary Clinton's campaign.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Weinstein bundled — a term for helping officially fundraise donations from others — $1,422,683 for Clinton's campaign in 2016 and at least $500,000 for Obama's 2012 campaign.

On Tuesday, Clinton released a statement saying she was "shocked and appalled" by the allegations.

Cindy Ord / Getty Images

"The behavior described by women coming forward cannot be tolerated. Their courage and the support of others is critical in helping to stop this kind of behavior," read the statement, released in a tweet by press secretary Nick Merrill.

Advertisement

The response in recent days from senators, in particular, has been swift, though. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont is donating the $2,700 Weinstein contributed to his 2016 reelection campaign.

Alex Wong / Getty Images

A spokesperson for Leahy's campaign told BuzzFeed News that "the recipient of the funds has yet to be finalized."

Sen. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico is donating the $5,400 Weinstein contributed in 2017 to his campaign to Community Against Violence, a nonprofit organization in New Mexico.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut is donating the $5,400 Weinstein contributed to his 2016 reelection campaign to the Connecticut Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

The campaign of Sen. Cory Booker is donating $7,800 received from Weinstein to the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, a nonprofit charity organization.

A spokesperson with Sen. Elizabeth Warren's reelection campaign told BuzzFeed News that she is donating the $5,000 Weinstein gave her in 2012 to Casa Myrna, a Boston nonprofit devoted to ending domestic and dating violence.

Advertisement

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will donate the $11,800 in contributions she previously received from Weinstein to RAINN, the US's largest anti-sexual violence organization.

Tasos Katopodis / Getty Images

In a statement, Glen Caplin, senior advisor to Sen. Gillibrand, told BuzzFeed News: “Sen. Gillibrand has received no donations from him this election cycle and will not accept any going forward. However, she will donate all the contributions she received in previous cycles to RAINN. Kirsten invites the right wing activists using this terrible story as a political tool to join her in actually working to combat sexual assault and sexual harassment in our society. They can start by endorsing her bipartisan legislation to end sexual violence on college campuses and in our military.”

Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota will be donating $19,600 in Weinstein's contributions to Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Franken spokesman Ed Shelleby said on Tuesday that the $19,600 covers donations Weinstein made to the senator's reelection campaign and political action committee.

A spokesperson said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is donating all of Weinstein's contributions "to several charities supporting women" — totaling $16,200.

The campaign for Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania is donating $2,190 in contributions from Weinstein to the Women's Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh.

Advertisement

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island will donate the $1,000 he received to Day One, a Providence organization that supports victims of sexual assault, a spokesperson said.

A spokesperson for Michigan's Sen. Debbie Stabenow will donate the $4,800 her campaign received from Weinstein in 2011.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Asked which charity would receive the $4,800, the Stabenow official said she did not know.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California will donate $10,000 to the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles — giving more than the $1,375 known contributions she received from Weinstein in the 1990s, spokesman Tom Mentzer said on Tuesday.

Mark Wilson / Getty Images

All 14 Democratic senators who have received contributions from Weinstein have said they will give that money — or in Feinstein's case, that money and then some — to charity.

In a press release on Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would donate money received for his 2018 effort to a "women's rights" organization, according to the New York Times' Shane Goldmacher.

Advertisement

A spokesperson for Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said on Tuesday that he "will be contributing an amount equivalent to Weinstein's 2013 campaign donations to the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance" — which will total $57,535.

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

"Governor McAuliffe is deeply troubled and sickened to hear the reports about Harvey Weinstein’s horrendous behavior toward women," the spokesperson said in a statement. "His actions are indefensible and cannot be tolerated. Governor McAuliffe offers his support to all who have suffered as a result of this abuse and misuse of power, and is grateful to everyone who has come forward. He will continue to fight against sexual assault, harassment and violence against women. No woman should have to tolerate these types of disgraceful offenses."

The national arm of the party, Democratic National Committee, has received as much as $300,000 from Weinstein since the 1990s. On Friday, the DNC, led by chairman Tom Perez, announced a plan to redirect "over $30,000" of Weinstein's donations not to charity but to political groups who support Democratic women running for office: EMILY's List, Emerge America, and Higher Heights.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

The $30,000 will cover the amount the DNC received from Weinstein during the last election cycle.

In a statement, DNC spokesperson Xochitl Hinojosa called the allegations against Weinstein "deeply troubling" and evoked the Access Hollywood tape of President Donald Trump.

"The Democratic party condemns all forms of sexual harassment and assault," said the statement. "We hope that Republicans will do the same as we mark one year since the release of a tape showing President Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women followed by more than a dozen women who came forward to detail similar experiences of assault and harassment."

In response, the Republican National Committee accused the DNC of attempting to "launder the dirty Harvey Weinstein money to fellow Democratic political organizations" by redirecting the $30,000.

"Now EMILY’s List, Emerge America and Higher Heights have the opportunity to do what the DNC failed to do — either return the money or donate it to charity," said RNC press secretary Cassie Smedile.

Paul Zimmerman / Getty Images

EMILY’s List, a political nonprofit that recruits and supports candidates who are pro-choice women, will keep the money they receive from the DNC, an official with the group said on Saturday.

“EMILY’s List plans to continue our work to elect more women to positions of leadership so no woman has to endure sexual harassment at the hands of a powerful man again," said EMILY's List spokesperson Julie McClain Downey.

Emerge America, a group that trains women who want to run for office, also plans to keep the contributions, according to communications director Allison Abney.

"Emerge America plans to use the funds to recruit and train even more Democratic women who, as elected officials, will bring forth policies that will reduce sexual harassment on college campuses, in the military and in the lives of all American women," Abney said on Sunday. "We remain committed to changing the face of politics by recruiting and training Democratic women from diverse backgrounds. That is how we will help end sexual harassment in this country."

The other Democratic organization set to receive the DNC money, Higher Heights, did not return a request for comment about their plans.

Requests for comment on Weinstein were also not returned from spokespersons for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, both of which have received campaign contributions from Weinstein.

Darren Sands contributed to this report.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

CORRECTION

Sen. Warren is donating the $5,000 Weinstein contributed and Sen. Gillibrand is donating $11,800. An earlier version of this article misstated those amounts.

Adam B. Vary is a senior film reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Adam B. Vary at adam.vary@buzzfeed.com.

Ruby Cramer is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Ruby Cramer at ruby.cramer@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.